Interview: Award-winning artist Nadia Nakai on baring it all for her documentary
With an incredible team behind her and a strong fan base, Nadia Nakai has shown that she’s a force to be reckoned with in the South African hip hop industry.
Her debut studio album, Nadia Naked, which was released on 28 June 2019, gave Nadia her first nomination at the South African Hip Hop Awards, in the Album of the Year category.
And now, her fans can peep behind the curtain and see the real Nadia with the release of Nadia Naked – The Album Documentary.
Showmax had the opportunity to chat to Nadia about the documentary.
For those who are unfamiliar with your brand and music, what are you hoping they will take from this documentary?
I’d like for them to get a bit more insight into the hip hop genre, as well as insight from a female rapper’s perspective. I don’t think a lot of people understand what it takes to be a hip hop artist in South Africa and what it takes to be a female in this genre of music.
It seems like being vulnerable was a bit of a challenge for you when making the album and documentary. What made you decide to finally open up?
Growth. I just got older and I began to understand the reason I went through certain experiences in my life. Those experiences became the main reason I wanted to share more of myself.
At the beginning of my career, I was too scared to have a voice, I was still learning a lot about the industry from my peers and other people in general. But now, I’m at that age where I’m still learning but I have a voice, I have an opinion and I’m not shy to show my vulnerable side.
There’s a part in the documentary where you mention that your collaborator Cassper Nyovest made you go back to the drawing board as he was not pleased with the initial project. How did that process of starting from scratch make you feel?
I won’t lie – I was hurt. Anyone who has an opinion on your work will always affect you. Even when I had my first conversation with Showmax about this project, the first thing I asked them was, “What did you think of the documentary?” It’s a piece of my work and it’s very dear to me.
So having someone like Cassper have such a strong opinion about my work was a bit of a shock. However, I’ve come to realise that I needed that honesty from him and I’m grateful for people like Cassper because he knows my potential and that I can produce a project as great as Nadia Naked.
In the documentary, you also express a lot of respect for the people you’ve collaborated with such as Tshego, Khuli and Lady Zamar. Are you planning on working with these artists again?
Definitely! I would love to work with all three again. Tshego is a very close friend of mine. We get each other creatively and I’ll be working with him in many of my other projects.
Khuli Chana is someone I’ve been wanting to work with for so long and the fact that we’ve been able to form such a great working relationship is so exciting. Khuli is a great artist and businessman; I’ve learned a lot from him.
The same with Lady Zamar. She is such an amazing artist and we have so much in common, especially with how we want to break certain barriers that hinder women in the music industry.